Things I’ve learned:

  • Cleaning your teeth too hard wears away the enamel and they don’t look white anymore and they become sensitive to heat and cold.
  • Spectacles can be uncomfortable and hurt!
  • I’ve become more aware of death the older I’ve got but it doesn’t bother me as much as it used to.
  • A very large Espresso can give the most hardened coffee drinker the wobbles.
  • Thunder isn’t really caused by the clouds crashing together.
  • Ben was the best friend I ever had.
  • Bits of the ageing process stop me doing as much as I used to. Make the most of what you’ve got while you’ve got it.
  • Farting is perfectly natural.
  • Listen with your ears, not with your mouth …. you’ll hear, and learn, more.
  • The Meaning of Life is “42” – it’s what you make of it.
  • Pushing your limits is the only way to find out whether or not you will succeed.
  • The only certainty in anyone’s life – is death.
  • Consider the worst but don’t fear it. The fear may be the worst thing you experience.
  • There’ll always be knots and tangles in life unless you do something about them.
  • Nothing gets done by sitting around doing nothing.
  • Cat hairs get everywhere! But they’re worth it, I guess.
  • As you get older you’re more likely to pee yourself when you cough or sneeze.
  • Baloney & Bureaucracy belong to the same family but baloney can be more entertaining.
  • A small contribution is still a significant one.
  • Passions are meant to be pursued – they help you make a difference.
  • Anger (or is it all emotions?) not dealt with is often directed elsewhere other than to the original target.
  • The best way to spin a yarn is to be outrageous and don’t try to look too serious. Remember Labradors and seals, Denver?

Way Of Life

I really ought to get back to reading the I Ching. As a way of life it has taught me much in the past and I felt as though I could move through life much more gracefully. I want to get that feeling back.

I haven’t felt alive alive for ages. Much of the time it’s as though I’m moving through fog, which is threatening to become a pea-souper. That’ll be work then. Trouble is it spills out into the rest of life as well. I don’t get much out of my spare time either. Life outside work seems to be misty and vague with no real sense of purpose or direction.

It’s only lately that I’ve been going out more with friends. It feels good to be amongst them. Perhaps more of the same and less time spent in front of the TV or the computer of an evening would do me the world of good. Something to get ready for now and then. Something to exercise my mind and possibly my body. I keep wanting to walk more and some of them get together regularly for walks. I might not be able to make the Friday walk but could persuade someone else to come with me. I wonder if Mick would. We can take Ozzy with us.

I need some sort of regularity. I need to know that things are likely to happen and that, as far as possible, they will. I know things change, it’s part of life … well, it’s all of life actually … and plans don’t always come about. It’s the making of those plans that’s important to me though. I’ve got nothing to look forward to otherwise.

Oh, there are plans made for the year … not many but some … but it’s not the Amsterdam-in-June or the Eire-in-August ones I’m talking about. They’re something exciting to look forward to but don’t give that regular feel-good factor. I’m talking about the short term plans, the daily, weekly and monthly onesĀ  to look forward to. The ones that keep the seratonin levels up. The involvement, the banter, the camaraderie that cones from being with friends.

I guess I’m trying to find meaning to life as well. The subtle meaning that nurtures me and everyone around me. The calming, purposeful Way that I’ve touched before. It’s in the soul.

More Philosophical Thinking

I’m beginning to realise the rhythm of my meanderings. I’m filling the blog with things that matter to me and define me as a person: the ramblings; the people; the songs; the seasons and the events. Seasons are the defining events in all our lives in my opinion. We go through mini seasons as well the sweep of tidal ferocity that is Winter, Summer, Autumn and Spring and all the shades in between. Our day-to-day lives are bound up in seasonal drifts and ebbs, whether during the course of a single day or over a matter of days or weeks. We are blown on that tide like dandelion seed and can move through it with the stealth and power of lions.

Endings and beginnings are transient. It is rare for there to be one single moment that can be defined as the beginning or the end of a series of life events. In the physical sense there are those moments, such as death of oneself or of another, but subjectively and emotionally there aren’t. At least, that’s the way I see it. Does the grieving process for the death of a loved one start before or after death? If they are terminally ill you might start grieving before death. If it is a sudden and unexpected death you might start grieving some time after death. The body sometimes goes into shock and can stave off any feelings of loss and sadness. You may be able to pinpoint the start of the shock but I wonder if you could pinpoint the end of it?

I’m doubting whether any one of us can pinpoint the start or finish of certain emotional reactions, feelings, behaviours and actions in the course of our lives. There is so much contained in the lead up and the exit and on the way we will have acquired subtle new ways of being that are bound up in those endings and beginnings. Thus we never really get rid of anything in our lives. All the parts of our existence are absorbed and woven into the fabric of our beings, just as we weave ourselves into the fabrics of others existences and vice versa.

This is getting deeeep! Think Buddhism, Hinduism, Paganism, Quaantum Physics. Eastern philosophy rather than religion. A way of being and of understanding rather than a dictation of how to be. There are more similarities between the I Ching, the Bible and the Koran, than most people realise.

The Richard Wilhelm translation of the I Ching was a turning point in my life. The more I studied it, the more I understood. Susan first showed it to me and Coddy in her flat in Powers Hall. I didn’t look at it again for years but then somehow acquired a copy. It seemed to require thinking like the elements and dimensions around us rather than as a sentient being.

Some people seem to think the I Ching is a prophetic, fortune telling, gimmick where the truth couldn’t be much further away. It’s a guide. You need to open your mind to it and absorb the meaning. Most people will understand that it won’t be telling their fortune if you explain this to them and most people will understand most of what the reading is telling them without prior knowledge or experience of Eastern thinking. The Richard Wilhelm translation is probably the most archaic in it’s language (it was translated from Chinese to German to English!) but it makes you think. Approaching the I Ching and reading it is a very meditative exercise.

When I read a book called, “The Tao of Quantum Physics” I wasn’t sure whether I was reading the “I Ching” sometimes. When I dipped into the “I Ching” I wasn’t sure whether I was reading “The Tao of Quantum Physics”! So to hear that there is a mathematical correlation between the trigrams and hexagrams of the I Ching to the DNA structure does not surprise me. Considering the I Ching was begun 5,000 years ago and has been amended into the modern version a mere 2,000 years ago, this is remarkable stuff indeed. I’d also add that it is akin to quantum physics.

The I Ching is really about cause and effect … the underlying foundations of change …. and how this is related to the natural world around us – and vice versa. After all, everything is linked in some way isn’t it?

The I Ching taught me a lot about change and rythm. And it taught me how to meditate. Studying the Book of Change is a fascinating experience. You need to understand the philosophy behind it. There’s that word again …. philosophy. Once you begin to gain a grasp a whole new world opens up.

I haven’t dipped into it for some time now and I bought a new copy last year. I’ll probably use the old one until it falls apart a bit more and then wear the new one in. I love the feel of the old one. It’s comfortable and familiar.

Thinking Philosophically

Time ticks by. So slowly. Only it doesn’t with hindsight. Where do all the years go? You think you’ve got forever in front of you and suddenly you haven’t. Suddenly the years left seem a long time but nowhere near as long as it once was. I like being the age I am now and I like being who I am at this moment in time. So is it all a waste? No, I don’t believe it is. I believe we need to get to know ourselves in the same way we need to get to know each other. As sentient beings we develop and evolve as we grow older and we need to understand, and become familiar with, that process of change.

I’m 52yrs old and having a ball. My life has never seemed so full. My life has not always felt so full or such a ball.

I didn’t used to like myself …… but I do now! I didn’t used be sure of myself …… but I am now!

There are only two certainties … NOW and DYING.

I like that about life and work though. Not knowing what’s coming next. Well, we know what’s coming ultimately but we don’t know anything about the next moment in time. We can all make plans for the day, for the week, for our lives, only to find our plans bent or shattered. It’s what we do at that moment that counts to what *will* happen. We are living the twists and turns of fate. Every last thing in this universe is weaving its own thread of fate but we are all intertwined. My fate affects yours, and so on. An eternal weaving and shifting of life.

I’m enjoying life at long last. It always seemed so much of a struggle once but that all seems to be in the distant past. I’m sure it was the struggling that held me up and stopped me growing spiritually and emotionally. When I just sat back into me and relaxed the struggle stopped. It all seems so easy and obvious with hindsight but it took a while for me to sit right back into myself. Now it’s a bit like living in a comfortable old sofa … one you can really curl up in and get nice and cosy.

I walk with confidence. I stand with confidence. And I talk with confidence. None of which I was confident in before. I always tried to be like somebody else because I didn’t think it was good enough to be me. How well did my friends know me? How well did I know myself? If I wasn’t the real me, then who was I?

I can recognise and utilise my strengths, abilities and capabilities. My ex-partner, Cary, once told me that I didn’t put myself in the postion of failing just in case I didn’t succeed and that I wouldn’t believe I was capable of more. In other words I was reluctant to stray outside my comfort zone … just in case. What the hell, I thought. To find out if I can succeed I have to put myself out there and go for it. If I don’t succeed I can use the experience to learn and progress in other ways. I’m ever grateful to Cary for giving me the courage to push my limits. I’ve done far more than I thought I could since then.

Living with Niadh has taught me more. He’s a manager and in listening to his take on things has taught me that I already know some of it. He also taught me how much I didn’t know. Inadvertantly, he taught me that I could carry on believing in myself. If I said, “I can’t do that,” he’d reply, “Why not? Of course you can.”

There are many more twists and turns of fate that have brought me to who I am today and many more people who were part of that journey. I’d like to write about some of those people. People who, in some small, unnoticed way made a major impact on me. Most of them won’t even know what they did or said and, at the time, I probably didn’t either. I’ve thought about some of those twists and turns as life has gone on and made sense of them. This is what I’d like to acknowledge.